By Phil Contrino
This past weekend was supposed to result in an epic battle between two comedy heavyweights. Get Smart and The Love Guru were expected to battle it out in grand fashion for box office supremacy.
Instead, Guru landed in theatres with a massive thud and Get Smart had the weakest #1 opening of the summer.
So, what happened?
Chad Hartigan, Box Office Analyst for Exhibitor Relations provides a simple reason for Guru 's failure.
“I think the major factor is the appeal. The trailers just didn’t make it look that funny, and when you’ve got other films out there that have better trailers with more successful jokes then that’s really the biggest factor. Too often, Hollywood tries to find reasons other than the quality of the product,” said Hartigan.
Guru 's opening weekend gross of $13.9 million looks even worse when placed up against the $76.6 million that Mike Myers brought in with July 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember. Then again, the original Powers movie brought in only $9.5 million in May 1997. Hartigan is confident that the failure of Guru in no way spells the end of Myers.
“I think he can rebound. He’ll be fine. He’s got more Shrek movies on the way and it could possibly mean that there’s another Austin Powers on the way, because the most common thing to do when the star is in crisis is to go back to their most beloved material,” said Hartigan.
Looking past Guru, Get Smart 's $38.6 million opening didn't exactly break the bank either.
Last summer, Steve Carell's Evan Almighty opened with $31.2 million and was considered a monumental dud due to it's bloated budget, which was estimated at $175 million. Yet Smart cost $80 million to make, which is relatively cheap by summer blockbuster standards, and that may have lessened the pressure on the film.
"I think Get Smart can be considered a success, because the expectations were a little lower and because it’s sort of family friendly it has the potential to have some decent legs," said Hartigan.
The box office performance of Get Smart and The Love Guru may have also been effected by the month they were released in.
"Typically, June is the month where things sort of level out a little bit. It’s kind of like the eye of the storm in between May and July, which in recent years have really become the time when the biggest blockbusters come out," said Hartigan.